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Why the Hadza are Still Hunter-Gatherers 

Frank Marlowe, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University 

2002. In Ethnicity, Hunter-Gatherers, and the "Other": Association or Assimilation in Africa, Sue 

Kent (Ed.) Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp 247-275. 


For several years there has been a heated disagreement over the status of foragers in 
southern Africa, what has come to be called the, 'Kalahari debate. One side argues that when 
first studied, the Ju/'hoansi (Dobe IKung, or IKung San) approximated pristine foragers, "on the 
threshold of the Neolithic," (Lee 1 972: 352). The other side argues they were (along with other 
San speakers), dominated, enserfed, or enslaved by their Bantu pastoralist neighbors, possibly 
even ex-pastoralists themselves, forced into foraging because they had lost their herds (Wilmsen 
1989). Much of the debate turns on the issue of contact between the Ju/'hoansi and non-foragers 
(Wilmsen 1989; Wilmsen 1993; Wilmsen and Denbow 1990; Lee and Guenther 1995). From the 
perspective of the Hadza (also called Hadzabe, Hadzapi, Hatsa, Tindiga, Watindiga, Kindiga, 
Kangeju, Western Hadza: Wahi), a foraging society in East Africa with whom I work, this concern 
with contact seems exaggerated. That is because the Hadza have had contact with non-foragers 
at least for the past century and yet they have persisted as foragers, in many respects I will 
argue, little changed. By examining the case of the Hadza, I hope to shed some light on the 
broader issues at stake in the Kalahari debate. 

To one looking in from the outside, the most interesting question raised by the Kalahari 
debate is perhaps the extent to which foragers in the ethnographic record are useful models of 
pre-agricultural societies. Revisionists, like Wilmsen (1989; 1993) have argued that the picture of 
the Ju/'hoansi portrayed by Lee (1979), which has become such a standard model of Pleistocene 
life, is a myth. Based largely on arguments about contact with non-foragers, Wilmsen claims the 
Ju/'hoansi would be better described as the rural proletariat who are denied access to other 
means of production, than as pristine foragers. If contact with non-foragers is so important, 
perhaps only the earliest descriptions of some Australian, Andamanese, and Arctic societies 
would qualify as candidates for uncontaminated models of the past. 

But how crucial is contact with non-foragers? Does even the slightest degree of contact 
with non-foragers mean a foraging society ceases to be 'true foragers'? This seems to be what 
revisionists imply. They claim, however, to be challenging the very notion of contemporary 
foragers as models of the past. Wilmsen and Denbow (1990) criticize Lee for describing the 
Ju/'hoansi as being "on the threshold of the Neolithic," saying, "Surely to remain among the few 
representatives of a way of life that everyone else gave up 10,000 years ago is to be a living 
fossil. If one has a history one is not on the threshold of an earlier time; one may forage and do 
nothing else without retaining an atavistic forager mentality and without being any more 
representative of foragers 10,000 years ago than are modern Bantu agropastoralists..." (1990: 
503). That may well be possible, but it seems far more likely the Ju are more representative of 
foragers 10,000 years ago than are modern Bantu agropastoralists. 

For one critical of the very notion of 'pristine,' Wilmsen seems to reify it. His insistence 
that contact with non-foragers invalidates Lee's picture of the Ju/'hoansi implies that lack of 
contact would at least be necessary, if not sufficient for contemporary foragers to be good models 
of the past. The importance of contact depends on what one wants to study. For example, even 
secondary foragers who once owned cows might be a valid society in which to study how 
individuals allocate their time when they must hunt and gather all their food rather than cultivate it. 
They may be less instructive regarding traits subject to strong cultural inertia. Certainly it is true, 
as the revisionists argue, that time has not stood still for foragers, even for those without contact, 
and the living fossil idea has rightly been challenged. However, since some foragers like the 
Hadza have continued to forage long after they have been in contact with agriculturalists, we 
must entertain the possibility that many other aspects of their lifestyle have also remained 
unchanged. Often contact does spell the end of foraging but not always; when it does not, we 
must ask why not, and we must ask what other traits are conserved. Here, I use the case of the 
Hadza to explore those issues and answer the question, "Why are the Hadza still hunter- 

The Hadza 

The Hadza are hunter-gatherers who live in the eastern rift valley in northern Tanzania. 
In many ways they resemble the Ju/'hoansi of Botswana (Lee 1984) as they were until the 
1 970's. Not only do they have a similar tool kit, hunt many of the same animals and gather some 
of the same plants, live in almost identical huts, and have a similar mating system, but they speak 
a language with clicks. These clicks (and some etymologies) have caused many researchers to 
classify them together with southern African Khoisan speakers (Bleek 1 931 ; Fleming 1 986; 
Ruhlen 1991 ; but see Woodburn 1977; Sands 1995). Recent evidence suggests that unlike the 
click language of the Sandawe, (who live a mere 130 km to the south of the Hadza) which is 
related to San languages, Hadzane (the Hadza language) may be a linguistic isolate, only very 
distantly related to San languages (Sands 1995). Hadzane is not at all related to any language of 
the immediate neighbors of the Hadza, a fact that suggests the Hadza have maintained a 
considerable degree of autonomy. 

The Hadza population has been increasing slightly since 1900 and today is about 1000 
(Blurton Jones et al. 1992). The Hadza live around Lake Eyasi, a large salt-water lake that 
almost completely dries up in the dry season. About 250 live to the west of the lake and have 
been little studied. The other 750 live to the east of the lake in an area about 2,500 km 2 (Figure 
1). Although both groups come and go freely, it is the Eastern Hadza I will describe here since I 
know them best. Among the Eastern Hadza, about 200-300 still live almost exclusively from 
hunting game, collecting honey, digging tubers, and gathering berries and baobab fruit (Marlowe 
1999). The remaining 450-550 Eastern Hadza shift between foraging and various other activities. 
Some Hadza guard the maize fields of their neighbors from animals, especially vervets and 
baboons, receiving maize in return, as well as eating the meat of the monkeys they kill. Some 
Hadza do labor on the two large European farms in the Mangola area. From time to time, a 
Hadza may work as a game scout or work for the game department. A few Hadza have paid 
government positions as community development officers. A growing number of Hadza depend 
on tourist money. Because I have been interested in studying foragers, I have spent most of my 

time with those Hadza least assimilated. Much of what I say is therefore, biased towards the 200- 
300 most bush-oriented Hadza. 

Virtually all Hadza, with the exception of very young children and some older women, 
speak Swahili fluently as a second language. Hadzane, however, is not in any immediate danger 
of being lost even though many words have been borrowed from Swahili and other languages in 
the area. This use of Swahili is fairly recent. According to Woodburn (pers comm), when he 
arrived in 1958 few Hadza knew Swahili. Instead, many knew Isanzu, the language of their Bantu 
neighbors to the south. The acquisition of Swahili appears to reflect an increase in its use as a 
lingua franca by all ethnic groups in Tanzania, rather than an increase in the degree of contact 
with non-Hadza. Swahili has simply replaced Isanzu as the second language of most Hadza. 

The Hadza have acquired very little of their neighbors' religions. Their own religion is 
minimalist. They do have a cosmology and men can tell endless stories about how things came 
to be. They do not believe in an afterlife and there are few religious restrictions. There are few 
rules in general, and what few there are often go ignored with little consequence, except for the 
rules about eating the men's special epeme meat. Illnesses may be attributed to violation of 
these rules (Woodburn 1979). The most important ritual is the epeme dance. In camps with 
enough adults this takes place after dark on moonless nights. Men wear bells on their legs, a 
feather headdress, a cape, and shake a maraca as they sing and dance one at a time in a call- 
and-shout manner, inspiring the women to sing and dance around them. The other main ritual is 
the Mai-toh-ko, or female puberty initiation, which happens when the berries are ripening. 
Pubertal girls gather in a camp where they are covered with animal fat and adorned with beads, 
then chase boys and try to hit them with their fertility sticks. 
Neighboring Groups 

Archeological evidence shows that farmers and pastoralists have been in the general 
area of Hadza country for several centuries (Sutton 1 992). The three groups of neighboring 
people with whom the Hadza interact most nowadays are the Cushitic Iraqw, the Nilotic Datoga, 
and the Bantu Isanzu. These 3 ethnic groups belong to 3 different linguistic phyla, and Hadzane 
belongs to a fourth, so none of the four languages is closely related (Ruhlen 1991). 

The Iraqw (also called the Mbulu) are Cushitic speakers who migrated south from the 
region of Ethiopia. They have been in northern Tanzania for perhaps 3,000 years (Ehret 1974; 
Ochieng 1975; Ambrose 1982; Sutton 1992). The Iraqw live in the highlands where rainfall is 
plentiful and are primarily maize farmers. Remains of irrigation channels, probably built by the 
Iraqw (part of the Engaruka complex), have been found near Endamagha in the northern end of 
Hadza country (Sutton 1986). These fields were abandoned around 1700 AD, possibly as a 
result of over-exploitation, or because the climate became drier (Sutton 1990). However, this was 
also at the same time the Maasai were expanding into the area. In the 1800's the Maasai 
expansion caused the Iraqw to take refuge in the Mbulu highlands flanking Hadza country to the 
east. During the past two decades the Iraqw population has been growing rapidly (3.5% per 
year) and is now over 230,000 (Meindertsma and Kessler 1997). Consequently, many Iraqw 
have moved down from the highlands into Hadza country, clearing trees and trying to make a go 
of maize farming in areas poor for cultivation but where hunting and gathering has in the past at 
least, been good for the Hadza. 

The Datoga (also called Tatog, Barabaig, and Mangati) are Nilotic pastoralists who 
number 15-20,000 (Meindertsma and Kessler 1997). It is not clear when they arrived in Hadza 
country but they have probably been in the general area since the 1 700's, when the Maasai 
expelled them from Ngorongoro Crater (Sutton 1990), which borders Hadza country on the north. 
Under German rule, Maasai expansion was checked and inter-tribal warfare and cattle raiding 
curtailed, causing Datoga herds to expand (Klima 1970). In response to Iraqw movement, the 
Datoga were also pushed out of current Iraqw areas. We know they have been interacting with 
the Hadza at least as early as 1917 (Bagshawe 1925). However, it was only in the 1930's and 
40's that Datoga began moving into Hadza country (Tomita 1966; McDowell 1981). Today, the 
most bush dwelling Hadza interact more with the Datoga than any other group. The herds of the 
Datoga drink the scarce water in Hadza dry season waterholes and eat much of the vegetation 
needed to support wildlife, which poses one of the main threats to continued Hadza hunting. In 
addition, in the past according to the Hadza, Datoga would occasionally kidnap Hadza women. 
Even today, some Hadza women are afraid when they are out gathering and see Datoga men. 

From time to time, violent conflicts have occurred. For example, Hadza tell of cases in this 
century when Hadza who killed and ate cows were pursued and killed by posses of Datoga. 
Despite this conflict, Hadza individuals continue to trade with and beg from Datoga but do not 
work for them. 

The Isanzu are Bantu agro-pastoralists who live to the south of Hadza country. They 
may have been in the general area since about 1500 AD (Nurse 1982; Soper 1982; Newman 
1995), part of the continuing Bantu expansion into east and southern Africa. Hadza access to 
iron could possibly extend this far back, since the Bantu introduced iron to the rift valley area 
about 1500 AD, though iron was used near Lake Victoria in Western Tanzania at least 2,000 
years ago. Isanzu oral tradition tells of colonizing the area near Isanzu and Kirumi around 1 850 
(Cooper 1949). At least from the turn of the 20 th century until the 1960's, the Hadza interacted 
more with the Isanzu than with any other neighbors. Early European visitors used Isanzu guides 
and interpreters to communicate with the Hadza (Obst 1912; Bagshawe 1925; Bleek 1931) and 
there appears to have been much more intermarriage with Isanzu than with Iraqw or Datoga. The 
Hadza trace descent bilaterally and anyone with one Hadza parent is considered Hadza. There 
are perhaps 5% of Hadza today who have an Isanzu parent, and some Hadza live on and off with 
Isanzu at one spot called Numba Sita. The Hadza do not make alcohol but nowadays they often 
get beer from Isanzu, as well as Datoga. The Hadza do not practice witchcraft but often say they 
fear the powerful witchcraft of the Isanzu. 

Other groups with which Hadza also have contact are the Sukuma, and Iramba, who are 
Bantu, and the Maasai who are Nilotic. The Sukuma live west of Lake Eyasi and interact mostly 
with the Western Hadza. They have for a very long time been making trips in caravans to obtain 
salt from Lake Eyasi (Senior 1957). Today in the Mangola area the Hadza also have contact with 
a variety of "Swahilis" as the Hadza refer to generic Tanzanians (and here I do as well). These 
Swahilis have moved into the area to grow onions beginning in the 1940's, though there were 
very few until the 1960's and 70's. In 1962, there were about 900 taxpayers in Mangola 
(Woodburn 1962). Hadza also have contact with the 3 European families in Mangola, one of 
which settled there in the 1950's, though the first German plantation began there in 1928 (Tomita 

1966). Researchers from Europe, Japan, and the US have been studying the Hadza regularly 
since the 1 960's and now there are increasing numbers of international tourists as well. 

Hadza country is only about 50 kilometers south of Olduvai Gorge and the Laetoli 
footprints, where evidence of hominid occupation dates to 3.6 million years ago. On the eastern 
edge of Lake Eyasi, a few hominid remains and associated tools were discovered by Kohl-Larsen 
in the 1930'sand recently estimated to be 130-200,000 years old (Mehlman 1987; 1988; 1991). 
Of course there is no way to know just how long Hadza ancestors have been there but, as 
evidenced by lithic materials, there has been continuous occupation of the Eyasi Basin at least 
since the Middle Stone Age (Mabulla 1996). There is a consistent pattern of mobility and use of 
rock shelters right through to present day Hadza campsites. Given the location of landmarks with 
Hadza place names, it appears the Hadza have long occupied all their current range and a bit 
more (Blurton Jones pers comm), most of which they had largely to themselves as late as the 
1950's (Woodburn pers comm). 

The earliest written accounts mentioning the Hadza are those of German explorers in the 
1890's (Baumann 1897). However, these accounts are only second-hand descriptions of the 
Hadza as provided by guides, along with direct observations of Hadza huts and wooden pegs in 
baobab trees, which the Hadza use for climbing up to get honey (see references in Blurton Jones 
et al. ND). Presumably, the Hadza were hiding from these early European travelers, as they did 
originally in 1917 from Bagshawe (1 925). The earliest written accounts of actually seeing Hadza 
are by Otto Dempwolff (1 91 6) in 1 91 and the German geographer Erich Obst (1 91 2) in 1 91 1 , 
who spent 8 weeks with the Hadza. 

At the first camp Obst visited on the eastern edge of Yaeda valley, Hadza (Wakindiga) 
were living with Isanzu (Waisanzu). Obst said, "Of the fifteen men, eighteen women and twenty- 
two children who I met in the camp, barely half - seven men, as many women and eleven 
children - identified themselves as real Wakindiga. The rest were Waisanzu, who were too lazy 
to farm at home, or who had to escape the reach of the Boma because of some kind of 
misdemeanor." For this reason, Obst decided to move on to another camp in Mangola where he 

was told, "...the inhabitants would be exclusively Wakindiga," and he hoped less influenced by 
Isanzu ways (Obst 1912:3). 

Obst described the Hadza as strictly foragers who kept no animals, not even dogs. 
However, because they had words for some domestic animals and because Obst felt these were 
not borrowed words, he speculated that the Hadza might have once been pastoralists. Because 
Obst was told of wars between the Hadza and Maasai and because he figured that the Maasai 
would only be motivated to fight with other pastoralists, he took this also as an indication the 
Hadza may have been pastoralists who lost their herds. He notes however, the Hadza had no 
memory or stories of having ever been farmers or pastoralists. Perhaps Obst was influenced by 
those neighbors who, in their condemnation of Hadza backwardness, often say the Hadza are not 
a real tribe or culture, only an amalgam of the dispossessed, "who don't even have a real 
language" (Woodburn 1997). This view reflects ethnocentric bias rather than any evidence. 
Hadzane, for example, is certainly not a pidgin language. 

The Hadza told Obst they always had to be ready for war with the Isanzu, Iraqw and 
Maasai. They also told him that the Isanzu sometimes captured women and children. It is 
possible the Isanzu were capturing Hadza for the slave trade, since there was an Arab slave 
trade route up until the 1870's only about 250 kilometers to the south of Hadza country. Obst 
was told the danger from the Isanzu subsided once the elephants became rare, so presumably 
the Isanzu were also involved in the ivory trade. The Sukuma, he says, came from further away 
and gave old hoes which the Hadza pounded into arrow points in exchange for getting to hunt 
elephants, but he doesn't say whether it was only for meat or for ivory, nor does he say how they 
hunted them. Elephants are the only big game that Hadza do not hunt today because they say 
their poison is not strong enough to kill them. Obst mentions the Iramba, Maasai, Sukuma, 
Isanzu, and Iraqw but not the Datoga, suggesting interaction with them came later. 

Obst described plentiful game of all sorts but said once the elephants became rare 
enough, the Isanzu began to interact peacefully with the Hadza. He said the Hadza took up the 
practice of circumcision and occasionally pierced their earlobes and inserted an Isanzu metal 
adornment. Men wore braided strings around their wrists and upper arms. Little girls wore a 

genital pendant of braided grass decorated with beads, which was exchanged at age 8-10 for a 
leather apron and loincloth. Women wore gigantic bead necklaces and brass spirals around their 
necks or lower arms, which he says they copied from the Isanzu. But in isolated camps, only 
leather ornaments were worn. 

Obst said of the Hadza that he never saw such concerned mothers and active family 
fathers, even when a man had two wives. He also said a Hadza man would never marry his 
daughter off to any man she did not love. He noted they practiced the levirate (as they do today), 
but he also said that a man could marry anyone other than his mother or sister and that one man 
even married his granddaughter, something unknown today. 

The next observer of the Hadza was F. J. Bagshawe, a district officer of the British 
government who made several trips to Hadza country soon after the Germans were defeated in 
the First World War. According to Bagshawe (1925), a famine in 1918-1920 prompted some 
Isanzu to take up living and foraging with the Hadza. Although it is usually Hadza women who 
marry Isanzu men he said, during the famine some Isanzu women married Hadza men. 
Bagshawe said the Hadza kept no domestic animals, not even dogs or fowl. He tells a story 
about their one and only experiment in pastoralism. Once the Hadza killed an elephant (which as 
I mentioned, they do not do now), and in exchange for the ivory received some goats from a 
native stranger. Next morning the goats strayed into the bush and no one bothered to follow 
them because they were feasting on the elephant meat. Then the Datoga attacked, declaring the 
goats had been stolen from them, and killed many Hadza. This shows that at least since 1917, 
there has been some hostile interaction with the Datoga. 

Bagshawe said the old men and women circumcised boys and girls but no ritual was 
involved and he felt the practice had only recently been adopted from neighboring tribes. Based 
on my interviews, I suspect he was right. Linguist Dorothea Bleek (1931) visited the Hadza in 
1930 and said that circumcision was unknown to the Hadza. She also said they did not have 
tattoos, only small scars where medicine is rubbed in, as they do today, though these small 
lateral slits on the cheeks look almost more like aesthetic marks. She said two medicine men 
with slightly different dialects came from the far north wearing clothes of European stuffs with 

spears and bags of medicine to visit the Hadza at Dondu, west of Eyasi. Hadza danced in a 
circle all day with the Medicine men in the center. That evening, 2 boys were tattooed and died 
from it. The next day two more were tattooed and also died. The third day only one Hadza 
medicine man was tattooed and the two visitors then left to visit other Hadza camps. These two 
visitors may well have been from another tribe (perhaps Datoga) or else were assimilated Hadza. 
Like Obst, Bleek found some Hadza who had large holes in their ear lobes into which paper 
(rather than metal) ornaments obtained from neighbors were inserted. Bleek also found Hadza 
sometimes getting meal (presumably maize or millet) from the Isanzu. The early accounts may 
have been somewhat biased toward assimilated Hadza since the writers themselves note the 
lack of borrowed customs among the most isolated Hadza. 

In 1945-47, the British colonial game officer, B. Cooper (1949) visited the Hadza on two 
occasions for 1 days each time. He found there were some Hadza around an Isanzu village 
doing some cultivation. His guide was a Hadza whose father was an Isanzu who had lived in a 
Hadza camp to escape the hut tax. Cooper said that Hadza men sometimes cooperated in pairs 
or 3's to drive game into ambush (which they rarely do today) and that men followed the honey- 
guide birds to find honey (just as they do today). He described the Hadza as having no tribal 
authority but said old men govern their own camp. He heard of some medicine men and said that 
those Hadza on the fringe of Isanzu country paid some allegiance to the Isanzu chief. He said 
the Hadza were peaceful, settling disputes without bloodshed, that monogamy was the rule, with 
a few beads as brideprice. Cooper said the Hadza had a primitive religion, while Bagshawe 
(1925) claimed they had no religion, but Obst (1912) said it was difficult to find out anything about 
their religion beyond the fact that the sun was God and that prayers were said over dead animals. 

When Woodburn arrived in 1958, he found about 400 Eastern Hadza still foraging (1968). 
At that time, the Hadza still had much of their area to themselves but there was an increasing 
influx of farmers into the Mangola area, and Datoga into Yaeda. Because there are many 
publications about the Hadza from this point on, I do not review them here (but see Table 1). 
Woodburn, and others since, have made a point of finding the best bush camps and spending 
more time with the Hadza. In some ways many of the later descriptions reveal less influence 


from outsiders, either because such influence actually subsided, or because Hadza further from 
any of their neighbors or villages, had always been subjected to less outside influence. However, 
soon after Woodburn began work, it looked as if Hadza foraging would end as a result of a 
concerted attempt to settle the Hadza. 
Settlement Attempts 

The first attempt to settle the Hadza, which lasted barely a year, was organized by the 
British colonial government in 1939 (McDowell 1981 a). After the local scout in charge abused 
his authority, the Hadza left. In 1964 and 1965, soon after independence from Britain, the 
Tanzanian government (Mbulu district), with support from an American missionary, attempted to 
settle the Hadza at Yaeda Chini where a school and clinic were built. Hadza from even the most 
remote bush camps were taken to Yaeda in lorries, escorted by armed police. According to 
McDowell, "Many Hadza were taken ill and a significant number died, probably of respiratory and 
diarrheal infections" (1981 :7). By early 1966, most Hadza left the settlement to return to foraging. 

There was also a settlement established to promote agriculture among the Mangola 
Hadza at Endamagha from 1971-75. A school, 12 houses, and a dispensary were built, water 
piped in, and seed provided. The village roll book listed 31 Hadza men in 1973. Then food aid 
was cut and the government told Hadza there they could not hunt in the area. After a drought 
and crop failure in 1 975, the Hadza left the settlement and returned to foraging. Although 
Endamagha is still where many Hadza are sent to attend boarding school, Hadza account for only 
about one third of the students there today. 

From time to time, missionaries have provided food and encouraged Hadza settlement. 
One Hadza man who allies himself with missionaries has several times tried to persuade other 
Hadza to abandon foraging in favor of farming, even using force at times. There was once a 
school at Munguli in the southern part of Hadza country, where many Hadza lived. When a 
missionary at Yaeda Chini provided food, many Hadza went there and stayed as long as the food 
lasted, which was only a few months. Meanwhile, the school and land in Munguli were occupied 
by Isanzu (Woodburn pers comm). Likewise at Yaeda, the school and clinic built for the Hadza in 
the 1960's attracted various Swahilis who are still there. Another attempt at settlement in Yaeda 


began in 1979 and the number of Hadza rose from 30 to 300 (Ndagala and Waane 1982) but 
today there are no Hadza living there. 

There is now a fairly permanent settlement at Mongo wa Mono, which was established as 
a Hadza village in 1 988. The number of people there varies greatly from about 20-80 and at any 
given time there might be 5-1 people growing crops or tending beehives with very limited 
success, so most still also forage some. Many people float in and out, and while there, simply 
wait for food deliveries from missionaries or aid workers. Missionaries sometimes come to 
Mongo wa Mono and try to make converts. Usually, they do not last longer than a few months. 
Hadza children and teen-agers often sing Christian songs, and the Hadza welcome the food 
provided by missionaries, but there has been little conversion to Christianity. Many observers felt 
the settlements would mean the end of Hadza foraging, but surprisingly, they did not. Even 
today, few Hadza practice any kind of agriculture. Although most adult Hadza have lived in a 
settlement at some point in time, such experiences have been short-term and have not prevented 
them from continuing their foraging lifestyle and maintaining much of their traditional culture. 
Stasis and Change 

Judging from photographs and descriptions, the Hadza visited by Obst in 191 1 were 
remarkably similar to the Hadza I first met in 1 995. They lived in the same houses in similar sized 
camps, used the same tool kit, foraged for the same foods, traded for the same items, and 
practiced the same sort of religion. In order to evaluate the degree of interaction with outsiders 
and the amount of change in Hadza culture, Table 1 provides a brief summary of descriptions of 
the Hadza from the earliest accounts to the present. Italics denote traits that today differ 
noticeably from what was described in the past. Table 2 lists probable influences from outsiders 
through time. Table 3 is intended to assess the extent of change over a much longer period and 
explore the relevance of contemporary foragers as models of the Paleolithic. It provides a list of 
Hadza possessions with estimated times of appearance either in the general Hadza area, or in 
the case of the earliest possible artifacts the earliest appearance anywhere. 

The impression one gets from reading the historical record, as others have noted 
(Fosbrooke 1 956) is that there is an overwhelming continuity in the descriptions throughout the 


20 th century. While the population may have grown slightly, camp size, mobility, diet, and mating 
system are very consistent (Table 1). In 1960, Woodburn (1968) found average camp population 
to be 18 (1-100). People camped at one spot for no more than a few weeks. In 1980, McDowell 
(1 981) found the average camp population in the Mangola area was 27.7 (22.6 to 31), and camps 
moved about 17.7 times per year. In 1995-96, the average population of 10 camps for which I 
had numbers in various areas was 29.1 (10-108). However, I found that camps did not move so 
frequently. For example, even though people were constantly visiting other camps, there tended 
to be a camp at one spot for a month or two. Thus, it appeared camps might move only about 6- 
12 times per year though individuals moved more often than that and there was great variation. 
For example, the largest camp, which contained 108 people, was located in the spot with the 
most continuous water. While the composition of this camp changed with families moving in and 
out seasonally, there was always someone at this spot the year round. Although there were still 
people there the following year and it appeared to have become a permanent camp, it was 
abandoned in 1998. There may be a trend toward larger camps staying in one place longer in 
response to many areas being taken over by non-Hadza. However, large camps (e.g., 100) 
during berry season in certain areas also existed long ago (Woodburn pers comm). 

Just as Bagshawe (1925) and Cooper (1949) found, the Hadza today have no spears 
(but see Kohl-Larsen 1958) or shields and only a few native-made axes which are used to break 
open trees to get at honey. As found by all observers, hunting is done only with bow and arrow. 
As Obst (1912) and Woodburn (1968) found, men today usually hunt alone in the wet season and 
many days may pass without any big game being killed. As Obst, Bagshawe and Woodburn 
noted, in the dry season men often hunt in pairs at night around the few permanent waterholes 
waiting for animals to come to them, which can be dangerous since lions employ the same 
strategy. As described by Obst and Bagshawe meat is also obtained by scavenging. And as 
noted by almost all observers, women and children go foraging for tubers, berries and baobab. In 
contrast to Bagshawe's observation, Hadza today do not eat insects or snakes and I have never 
seen them eat lizards. 


In 1985-86, Hawkes and O'Connell (Blurton Jones et al. ND) found that less than 5% of 
calorie intake (in one camp) was from agricultural food. In 1995-96 (in 2,733 person-days in 5 
camps), I found 9.9% of all calories entering camps came from non-foraged food. Much of this 
was maize (5%) and millet (4.2%) delivered to one camp by one missionary during 1 month, the 
rest gained through trade with agro-pastoralist neighbors (Figure 2). Because I calculate the 
Hadza consume about 30% of their total calories while out foraging (Marlowe in press), what 
comes into camp is only about 70% of total consumption. This means that agricultural food 
received from non-Hadza represents only about 6.93% of total consumption (9.9% of 70%). 
Thus, the amount of food acquired from foraging in 1995-96 was not much less than in 1985-86. 

I suspect that 50 or 60 years ago the 9.9% of food entering camp that is agricultural 
would have instead been from hunting, which would almost double the amount of calories from 
meat. It is clear that with so many people moving in and cutting down trees and herds eating the 
grass, the routes of migrating animals between the game parks has been affected. The Hadza 
say that there is less game than in the past and Obst (1912) reported seeing large herds of big 
game in Yaeda valley in 1911. Not only were there many elephants (which are fairly rare today) 
but even rhino, which are now absent. In 1998, the El Nino rains created a new lake in Yaeda 
valley (which may persist for several years), and I found some Hadza fishing for large catfish by 
whacking them with their bows (even though the Hadza say that fish are not decent food). Before 
1998, however, there were mostly herds of Datoga cows in Yaeda valley with only the occasional 
herd of antelope. 

As Table 1 shows, the Hadza have been trading with their neighbors throughout the 20 th 
century. Just as they did at the time of Obst's visit, Hadza today give meat, skins, and honey in 
exchange for tobacco, marijuana, maize, millet, clothes, beads, cooking pots, and scrap iron for 
making their axes and arrowheads. They no longer get clay pots but rather metal pots and they 
no longer get brass neck rings. Nowadays, the Hadza also receive some beer from their 
neighbors, sell some crafts to tourists, and receive a variety of goods from researchers, especially 
clothes and nails for arrowheads. 


Considering the Hadza are surrounded by more powerful neighbors, a surprisingly small 
percentage of Hadza women marry non-Hadza men, perhaps less than 5%, though Kohl-Larsen 
(1958) says that in the 1930's, Isanzu men frequently stole Hadza wives. Often after a Hadza 
woman does marry an outsider and has a child, she leaves him and returns to raise the child in a 
Hadza camp. This may well be because Hadza women are too independent to put up with the 
sort of treatment they get from non-Hadza men. When they do return, they do not experience 
any noticeable stigmatism. As described in virtually all, earlier accounts, the Hadza are quite 
monogamous (serially) with occasional polygyny. There is no marriage ceremony, no arranged 
marriage, divorce is easy, and the levirate is practiced. 

Despite the overwhelming impression of continuity in the historical record, there are a few 
exceptions and it is these that catch my attention precisely because they stand out in relief. Obst 
found some Hadza wearing brass neck rings, and making large holes in their earlobes, a practice 
they acquired from the Isanzu. Today, the Hadza do neither of these, though the Datoga do, 
even more so than the Isanzu. Obst said the Hadza adopted circumcision from the Isanzu but he 
saw only one circumcised man and he was an Isanzu living in a Hadza camp. Bagshawe (1925) 
said old men and women performed circumcision on boys and girls but without any elaborate 
ritual. Bleek (1 931) said, unlike other tribes, circumcision was unknown to the Hadza. Hadza 
men are not circumcised today and only a certain unknown fraction of women are. Given all 
these differences, it appears there may have been more influence from Isanzu then than now, at 
least along the margins of Hadza country. 

Another difference between Hadza in the early 1900's and Hadza today is that they are 
less shy. These days Hadza will approach a visitor, at least a foreign visitor, rather than hide. 
Their second language is Swahili rather than Isanzu. They use metal rather than clay pots (there 
is usually at least one in every camp). In addition, many Hadza attend school, even if only for a 
year or less. I would say that about 20% of Hadza under 50 years old have attended some 
school and about 60% of those under 30 years old have attended some school. There is less 
gambling by men nowadays. I have seen Hadza men play their gambling game, lukucuko, only 
at one camp in one season. According to Woodburn (1970), in the 1960's they often played. My 


impression is that there may be less storytelling nowadays than in the past since all men can tell 
stories (for examples see Bala 1998), but only rarely do I observe them doing so. In some 
camps, there is now the occasional radio or flashlight (invariably lacking batteries). There are 
today more factory-made clothes, which researchers give as gifts. 

Just in the last four years there have been developments that may well change Hadza 
life. Even more than the ever-increasing number of Datoga, Iraqw, Isanzu, and Sukuma moving 
into the area, a threat to the foraging lifestyle is posed by the sudden influx of ethno-tourists. 
During my year in 1 995-96 there was only about one van full of tourists per week visiting Hadza 
camps during the 3-4 months of tourist season in the Mangola area, where a Swahili village 
exists. In bush camps there was no tourism except for one company that brought very small 
groups of tourists once or twice a year. In most bush camps many people, especially women, 
much preferred gifts to money, since they did not ever go to a village and had no way to spend 
their money. During the dry season of 1998, there were several caravans of tourists, even at 
remote camps. The tourists come because they want to see foragers. Tourism may, therefore, 
keep the Hadza appearing to forage. In reality, at least during the dry season when tourist travel 
is possible, some Hadza receive enough money from the tourists that they can buy maize to live 
on, and only forage when the tourists show up and want to go on a walkabout. In one Mangola 
camp, Hadza have taken to making their traditional clothes of skins because tour guides tell them 
that is what the tourists want to see. In this respect then, present-day Hadza in Mangola would 
appear even more like their ancestors a century ago. The only difference is that these new 
leather clothes have plastic beads sewn on, beads they make from bits of colored plastic they find 
around the village. 

This tourism would not be troubling if the Hadza bought only maize, but after tourists 
pass through, their neighbors waste no time bringing them alcohol and leaving with all the money. 
During 1995-96 there was no drinking in remote camps, only in those close to the village in 
Mangola or the settlement at Mongo wa Mono. During 1 998 there was much drinking in virtually 
all camps. Drinking leads to arguments and fights and injuries. It seems that for a while the 
Hadza may continue to forage during the wet season when the mud prevents tourists from 


coming. But it may not be long before tourism spells an end to foraging year round. It may be 
that Hadza culture, which has remained little changed despite long contact with more powerful 
neighbors, will now, with the arrival of tourists, finally succumb to outside influences, largely 
because the tourists are a source of money. The irony is, of course, that the tourists come 
because they want to see foragers and once they have completely eliminated real foraging they 
will no longer come, leaving the Hadza with no source of income. 

Despite these changes, in the wet season at least, by and large, I would notice little 
difference were I to travel back in time to visit a camp in 1900. The continuity extends all the way 
to their bows and arrows being exactly the same mean length, the height of men and women 
being the same (Blurton Jones et al. ND), and their favorite colors of beads being blue and white 
(Kohl-Larsen 1 958). Despite the fact that the Hadza have had contact with non-foragers 
continuously for many decades and perhaps centuries, they have changed little and conserved 
Why Stasis? 

Why did the Hadza change so little in the face of contact? Woodburn (1979; 1988) 
argued that encapsulation was the result of the immediate-return organization of Hadza culture, 
which insulated them from the temptations of agriculture and the entanglements of extensive 
trade and serfdom. I agree. Yet Woodburn offers no explanation for why some, like the Hadza, 
are immediate-return while others are delayed-return foragers. The following are the best 
explanations I can offer for Hadza conservatism. 

First, the habitat is rather marginal. It is poor for growing crops without irrigation. 
Second, although it is a good habitat for pastoralism, before a government eradication program in 
the 1 940's and 1 950's, the tsetse flies were very bad. This meant that pastoralists did not 
encroach too much. Thirdly, Tanzania has always been undeveloped. By embracing socialism 
with independence, development remained slow until recently. This lack of development and lack 
of infrastructure (e.g., roads) meant less change came to the Hadza area than would have 
occurred otherwise. Fourth, the presence of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National 
Park, Maswa Game Preserve, and Lake Manyara National Park, all of which border Hadza 


country, allowed wildlife to persist. Protected big game animals migrate through Hadza country 
allowing them to continue to hunt as well as gather. These game parks owe their existence, in 
part, to colonialism, since during British rule Serengeti and Ngorongoro were established by 
forcing the Maasai to move. Fifth, the Hadza have long adopted a low-key response to outsiders. 
As mentioned, they used to hide from strangers (Bagshawe 1925). This behavior may have 
helped avoid many confrontations that could have resulted in extermination at the hands of 
enemies. Even though the tsetse fly may have limited the potential for pastoralism, it also seems 
likely that, were it not for colonialism, when the Germans halted the Maasai expansion, the 
Maasai would have pushed the Hadza out of the area after pushing the Datoga out of 
Ngorongoro Crater. 

It is possible that the interest of researchers beginning in the late 1 950's and growing up 
to the present may have prolonged Hadza foraging (for reviews see Ndagala and Waane 1982; 
McDowell 1982). This might have occurred from the many gifts that researchers are expected to 
give. This may have made it less likely that some other tribe would subjugate the Hadza. Others 
also want outsiders to come and provide goods, and they recognize that the outsiders are coming 
to see or study the Hadza. For example, recently several villages have instituted fees for 
researchers and tourists just for passing through on their way to see the Hadza. It would hurt 
these neighbors if outsiders stopped coming because the Hadza were no longer foraging. On the 
other hand, it may well be research publications that have contributed to the awareness 
responsible for attracting tourists and hastening the end of foraging. 

It certainly doesn't seem that the Hadza remained foragers because they were oppressed 
by their neighbors and denied access to other means of production, as revisionists might argue. 
On the contrary, Hadza have often refused to take up agriculture. Unlike some southern African 
bushmen, Hadza labor has been in little demand by pastoralists. According to some informants, 
there has occasionally been a Hadza child kidnapped by Datoga and reared as a herder but it 
seems there would be little interest on the part of Hadza in working for Datoga even if there were 
any demand for labor. Why did some Bantu pastoralists have a demand for forager labor in 
southern Africa? Presumably, forager labor was so cheap it afforded an extra bit of leisure for the 

Bantu. Perhaps the Hadza remained independent simply because they could make a decent 
living foraging, in some respects a better living than their neighbors, many of whom eat a 
monotonous diet of maize only (Blurton Jones et al. 1996). The Hadza don't pass up any hand- 
outs of maize but they do not seem interested in working for Datoga or Iraqw agropastoralists, 
who may consequently, find Hadza labor of little value, being so unreliable. 
Discussion and Conclusion 

Early anthropologists described cultural evolution as a unilineal process of development. 
Tylor (1871) believed in the psychic unity of all humans and felt that cross-cultural variation 
resulted from historical processes, not racial differences. Those least developed, like hunter- 
gatherers, were no different biologically but were, culturally, "living fossils." Morgan (1877) 
proposed a sequence of stages from hunter-gatherers (savagery) to complex states (civilization). 
Such a unilineal scheme implies traits within a culture must change together, an extreme form of 
holism, and suggested some impetus towards complexity, often labeled progress. Such 
reasoning led some to speculate that foragers would have a primitive language to go along with 
their primitive technology. This is clearly not the case. In reaction, others argued against the 
living fossil idea on the grounds that language or other traits may develop, even if technology 
does not. One could cite many examples to support this particulate view of culture, but it is an 
overreaction to dismiss completely an evolutionary sequence to cultural and ecological change. 
After all, all societies were foragers 12,000 years ago, and few have moved directly from foraging 
to industrial production. 

Is the particulate view of culture responsible for the rejection of the living fossil idea 
among so many today? It seems more likely they reject the idea because living fossils imply 
backwardness, which they wish to deny. In some ways, a forager culture may have changed 
greatly without technology changing much and if so, such foragers are only technologically living 
fossils. But it is also possible that in addition to technology, other cultural traits have changed 
little. In Tanzania, it is not only the Hadza who have changed little but also their neighbors, the 
Datoga and Maasai pastoralists. The Maasai and Datoga are strikingly different from the general 
Tanzanian Swahili population and this difference is due to their strong conservatism. If they had 


sent their children to school, and given up their traditional attire they would now blend in. But 
they did not. In a sense, at least over the past century, they have approximated living fossils and, 
like the Hadza, appear little different than they did a century ago, even though they have been in 
contact with others. 

Compared to most other ethnic groups in Tanzania, the Hadza, Datoga, and Maasai have 
been more conservative, more like living fossils than others groups. There is nothing mysterious 
about conservatism. It creates autonomy as much as it is caused by autonomy. It is wrong to 
think of foragers as living fossils if aspects of their cultures have changed appreciably. If that is 
what one wants to argue, one must present evidence of such change. But if one wants to reject 
the living fossil idea in general, whether there is evidence of such change or not, I suspect it is 
because one equates conservatism and backwardness with inferiority. That equation is often 
made in Tanzania, where some people get angry or insulted that someone wants to come study 
the backward Hadza. They resent what they perceive as a foreign fascination with savages, and 
the portrayal of Tanzania as backward. Obviously they are right about the fascination with the 
Hadza, but it is virtually impossible to explain to them why this does not make the Hadza inferior. 

Of course time does not stop for foragers who are isolated. It is revealing that my 
synopsis of Hadza history is a series of encounters with and influences from others. Few would 
be interested in reading a history that described how 100 years ago, the Hadza foraged for x, y, 
and z, then 90 years ago, they foraged for x, y, and z, while 80 years ago they foraged for x, y, 
and z. We tend to think of history as a series of changes, so it is understandable that a group 
experiencing little change is portrayed as frozen in time. The notion that what one sees when 
looking at foraging societies is a picture of what Pleistocene humans were like, has rightly been 
criticized. But just because the same amount of time has passed for all societies, does not mean 
the same amount of change has occurred. Obviously less change has occurred in the domain of 
subsistence and also fairly obviously in other domains as well. Even if foragers are not living 
fossils, surely they are the best living models of what life was like prior to agriculture. The 
pendulum has swung so far away from the view that contemporary foragers are living fossils that 


some people now dismiss them as models of anything like our Pleistocene ancestors, as the 
statement from Wilmsen quoted above illustrates. 

Examining the case of the Hadza affords another perspective on the Kalahari debate. 
There is no question about whether the Hadza were, or were not, in contact with non-foragers 
before they were studied; they were. Clearly, they were also often dominated when they were in 
contact. There is no definitive evidence the Hadza were not enslaved or enserfed by their 
neighbors in the distant past, but there is no evidence that they were either. Nor is there 
evidence that they once were pastoralists or farmers. But suppose they were. What difference 
might that make? If they were secondary foragers we might be misled into thinking that certain 
traits, their religious beliefs for example, were the product of a foraging lifestyle when in fact, they 
may have evolved during an agricultural past and only persisted into the forager present through 
cultural inertia. If one is interested in studying foragers from an evolutionary ecological 
perspective it might not matter since many aspects of secondary foragers' lives would likely differ 
little from primary foragers. For example, time budgets, life history traits, and camp 
demographics should converge on values that are constrained by the foraging lifestyle, rather 
than cultural inertia. 

Certain traits of ethnographic foraging populations may indeed be biased. This could 
result if only those foragers in marginal habitats survived long enough to be described, or if those 
societies described are those that survived because they went to extreme lengths to avoid 
conflict. Pre-agricultural societies may have engaged in much more warfare than those more 
peaceful societies that were spared precisely because they adopted a policy of hiding from more 
powerful strangers. In addition, perhaps ethnographic foragers are more egalitarian in response 
to their more powerful neighbors. Australian societies, who by and large were not in contact with 
non-foragers, or any state societies until Europeans arrived, were described as gerontocracies, 
with intense polygyny, and frequent warfare (Hart and Pilling 1979; Spencer and Gillen 1927). It 
is possible that pre-agricultural populations were more hierarchical, more polygynous, and more 
often engaged in war than most of the egalitarian foragers in the ethnographic record, but this will 
not be easy to resolve. The Kalahari debate will have proved worthwhile if it results in a closer 


examination of the archeological record to identify pre and post-contact forager traits (e.g., Sadr 
this volume). 

The special place of foragers in anthropology has been challenged by the revisionists on 
the grounds that contemporary foragers are not primary foragers, or that they have been 
oppressed by outsiders, or that they are a creation of our need to view others as simple and 
primitive, as living fossils. But if we are interested in the past, surely foragers are the best models 
we have if we hope to actually observe and measure behavior. If the revisionists' criticisms lead 
to more careful scrutiny of those factors that make some contemporary foragers poor models of 
the past, this would be a valuable contribution of the Kalahari debate. For example, we can look 
for correlations which could improve our models, a correlation between say habitat and camp 
size, between diet, post-marital residence and social organization, between variance in food 
returns, hierarchy, and the mating system. We might discover that warfare is associated more 
with foragers in rich, wet environments that lead to high population densities, or conversely with 
foragers who live in such dry environments that waterholes are defended. By using archeological 
estimates of population density, we might be able to infer what rates of warfare would have been 
for various Pleistocene populations. By this method we may eventually arrive at an answer to the 
question of how representative some contemporary foragers like the Ju/'hoansi or the Hadza are 
of the pre-agricultural past in southern and eastern Africa. 


I would like to thank the Hadza and their neighbors for being so accepting, Jeannette Hanby and 
David Bygott for all their help, the Tanzanian government (COSTECH) for permission to conduct 
research, and Sue Kent for her helpful comments. 



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Table 1 . Descriptions of the Hadza through time. (Italics indicate descriptions that differ with my observations of Hadza today) 

Year & Source 





Trade and Interaction 


Baumann 1897 

Saw houses 

Baobab pegs in trees 

Neighbors had name for 

Hadza hiding. 


8 weeks 


1-3 families 
1 st camp = 55, 25 
were "real 

Weeks, months 
at same place in 
dry season 

Don't recall herding or farming. Primary 
diet: tubers, berries, hyrax. Baobab, gazelle, 
antelope, hartebeest, gnu, ostrich, giraffe. 
Night hunt in dry season. In wet, follow 
game many days, can go weeks without a 
big game kill. Watch vultures, scavenge 
from lion and leopard. 2 kinds of poison. 

Levirate. Can't marry 
mother, sister, can niece, 
granddaughter. Doting 
mothers, fathers, 5-10 
arrows for daughter if 
she loves man, polygyny 
often (2 different huts) 

Get tobacco, brass neck 
rings from Isanzu for 
lion, leopard fur, honey. 
Sukuma give beads, 
knives, old hoes. Isanzu 
captured women, kids till 
elephants rare. 

Circumcision from 
Isanzu, only 1 man. 
Wars with Iraqw, 
Isanzu. No 
afterlife. Only old 


Bagshawe (1925) 
several trips 
over 6 years 
British colonial 
district officer 


2-3 men, wives 
and children 

No farming, domestic animals or dogs. 
Meat, honey, fruit, tubers, fish, snakes, 
lizards, carrion birds, eggs, ants, insects, all 
but hyena. Kill elephant, scavenge rhino. 
Had not tasted beef. Seldom lose wounded 
prey. Kill lions, match by day but eaten by 
lions when night hunting without fire. Reed 
fish trap. Running noose snare, no nets. 

Brideprice 5-15 arrows. 
Easy divorce. During 
1918-20 famine, some 
Hadza men married 
Isanzu women. 

Get old spears as scrap 
iron, beads, tobacco for 
skins, honey, meat to 
neighbors on border. 
Attacked and killed by 
Datoga who claimed 
goats were stolen. 

No spears or 
shields, one axe. 
Often hungry but 
happy. No religion, 
burial, magic, 
medicine or 
musical instrument. 


6 weeks 

2-3 families of 

relations but one 

may move off by 


Few weeks or 

months before 


No domestic animals or gardens. Roots, 
bulbs roasted in ashes, fruit, meat cooked 
on sticks or boiled, liver eaten raw. Seeds 
pounded then boiled. Giraffe, ostrich 
preferred meat. Honey is favorite dish, a 
treat for kids. Water only beverage. Get 
some meal from Isanzu. Hammer scrap into 
arrowhead with iron mallet. 

Most own 2 wives in 
different camps but show 
children great affection. 
Girls marry at 16, boys 
bit later, no ceremony, 
brideprice: beads to 
father. Take to groom's 

Get tobacco, meal from 
Isanzu, iron scrap from 
Bantu, paper ear 
ornaments, clay pots, 
calabashes, beads, 
copper rings, stuffs for 
meat, skins, honey, 
beeswax (sell at a store). 

Remember Maasai 
raids and famines. 
Dance in circle. 
Copper arm bands, 
both sexes wore 
beads. Medicinal 
scars. Lukucuko. 
Burial. No afterlife. 


Many months 
Doctor, explorer 

450 East, 
100 West 

From 1 extended 
family may grow 
to 60-80 in one 

In photos — berries, baobab, tubers, 
klipspringer, ostrich, killed rhino, hippos. 
Native axe. Keep dogs. 

Monogamy. Men kill 
adulterer and beat wife. 
Wife may leave husband 
if not good hunter, 
children stay with father. 

Get beads maize, hemp, 
iron for furs, horns to 
Isanzu. Brass bracelets, 
some cloth. For tobacco, 
women take Isanzu lover 

Girl's fringed 
apron, tattoos, 
dancing, epeme 
items, firedrill. 
Spear for hippos. 

Cooper (1949) 
10 days twice 
British colonial 
game ranger 

5-12 huts, some 
camps > 35, 2-3 
men, wives, kids, 
grand-parents. 7- 
10 days at one 
spot before 
deplete baobab. 

Baobab main food 5 months. Roots, fruits. 
Follow honey-guide bird, smoke to stun 
bees and get honey. Rhino, buffalo, giraffe, 
wildebeest, hartebeest, zebra, impala, kudu, 
roan, birds, squirrel, tortoise, some lizards, 
hyenas when hard-pressed but not snakes, 
frogs, toads. 2-3 men may drive game. 

Marriage after short 
engagement, brideprice 
few beads, monogamy 
the rule. 

Get iron, millet for meat, 
skins but he stopped it. 
No punishment but ban 
on rhino hunting to sell 
horn. Love elephant he 
shot. Few clay pots. 

No spears or 
shields, few native- 
made axes. One 
short camp stay: 2 
impala, 2 warthog, 
1 porcupine, 1 
large bird. 



No fixed abode, 

No herding or cultivation, roots, game, 

Get cloth, clay pots, 

Few make 



small groups 
move in relation 
to food. 

fruits, baobab, smoke native intoxicant 

gourds. Would not take 
money so he gave cloth 
and beads. 

occasional visit to 
shop in outlying 

Woodburn (58, 
62, 68a, 68b, 
Barnicot et al. 

Many trips 
58 to present 

750 (250 in 
West, 500 
in East) 
400 full- 

Large camps at 
water in dry, 
small, dispersed 
in wet. Few 
weeks in one 
spot, shorter than 
food dictates. 

By weight, ~ 80% from vegetable matter, ~ 
20% from meat and honey (but account for 
more calories than that). Berries, baobab, 
tubers. Usually hunt alone, lion, leopard, 
serval, wild cat, hyena, vulture, zebra, 
guinea fowl, jackal, impala, eland, giraffe, 
hyrax, (some of which is traded). Don't eat 
civet, monitor lizard, snake, terrapin. 

Bilateral descent, Men 
marry in early 20's. 
-60% marriages 
uxorilocal, few 
polygynous marriages, 
divorce rate = 49/1000 
years. Kids live with 
mother after divorce. 

Some intermarriage. 
Proportions of Hadza 
ancestry = 79.8% Hadza, 
17.3% Isanzu, 1.7% 
Sukuma, 1 .2% Iramba 
(including grandparents, 
n = 437). 

Lukucuko. Musical 
bow. Attribute 
disease to violation 
of epeme meat 
rules. No 
territoriality, fluid 
camp composition. 
Good health. 


80 in 


Hunt alone or in pairs. Berries, tubers, 
honey, baobab, catch eels and such fish in 
Eyasi by hand. Hunt impala, zebra, baboon, 
wart-hog, eland, guinea fowl, francolin, but 
not snakes, lizard, buzzard, and hyena. 

Eland fat as brideprice. 

Get corn for baobab. 
Aluminum pot. 

Eland fat used in 
ceremonies. Small 
game to family, but 
larger than impala 
shared with all. 

Mangola area 

Mangola = 

27.7 (22.6-31) 

Average distance 

between camps = 

3 km 

17.7 moves per 


8 roots, tamarind, baobab, fig, dates, 10 
berries. Mostly small game but in calories, 
large game. Meat eaten 64% of days, honey 
21 % of days. Daily meat = .82 kg. /person. 
Agricultural foods (maize, beans, sweet 
potato, especially in the late dry season). 

All Hadza considered 
kin. Hadza women marry 
outsiders in outlying 
areas, men can't. 

Witchcraft fears of 
neighbors in villages. 
Only ethnic group in 
Tanzania to escape tax 
shows autonomy. 

Good diet and 
health relative to 
neighbors. Non- 

Blurton Jones, 
Many trips 

1000 (250 
west, 750 
E) density 
= .24/km 2 , 
growth rate 
= 1.35/year 

16.5 (2-48 in 36 
bush camps) 

Tubers, honey, meat, baobab, berries. 
Encounter hunt by day, intercept by night. 
Target large game and took one/29 hunter- 
days (4.9 kg/hunter-day). 5 year olds forage 
at rate capable of meeting half their needs. 
5% of calorie intake was agricultural foods. 

Divorce rate = 60/1000 
years. TFR = 6.2. Infant 
mortality = 21%, 
juvenile = 47%. Life 
expectancy at birth = 
32.5, women at 45=21.3 

Some get maize for 
guarding fields, sweet 
potatoes for harvesting. 
Iron, cloth for honey. 
Cloth, nails, beads from 

Frequent name 
changes. Epeme 
dance when no 
moon, Sun is god. 
Lobby researchers, 
negotiate gifts. 

1995-96 - present 
Marlowe (1999a, 
1999b, in press) 
17 months. 

300 full- 

foragers in 

29.1 (10-108 in 
10 bush camps) 
2 weeks to ~ 
once per month 
or 2 but 1 camp 
year round 

Food brought into camp in order of 
importance: tubers, berries, honey, baobab, 
meat (large, medium, small game, birds) 
see Fig.2 for %. No insects, snakes, or 
lizards. Fish killed by whacking with bows 
in new Yaeda Lake in 1998. In trade or 
gifts: maize, millet (see Figure 2 for %). 
Hunt in pairs at night in dry season. Hunt 
alone, occasionally in pairs. Take any bird 
or mammal, considerable scrounging. 
Women forage in groups of 3-8. 

3% of full-time forager 
men (6% women) 
polygynously married. 
1/3 young children are 
stepchildren, who 
receive less direct care. 
Men gave less care in 
camps with more fertile 
women. Total fertility = 

Get maize, millet, cow 
from Datoga, Iraqw, 
(iron from Isanzu) for 
meat, honey. Get clothes, 
matches, beads, nails 
from researchers. Money 
from tourists for crafts, 
singing, walkabout. 
Maize, millet from 
missionaries. When 
gathering, some women 
scared of Datoga men. 

Epeme dance when 
no moon, girl's 
puberty ritual when 
berries ripen. More 
items more often 
shared in smaller 
camps. Scars on 
cheeks. Lobby 
negotiate gifts. 


Table 2. Influences from "Others" 

Trait or Interaction 

The "Others" 


Probably interacted with farmers on 

Engaruka complex at Endamagha 
(Iraqw) 1700AD 

Sutton 1986 

Trade for iron, tobacco, beads 

Isanzu, Sukuma 

Obst 1912 

Captured (maybe slave trade), ivory 

Isanzu 1800's 

Obst 1912 


Maasai 1900 

Obst 1912 

Maasai expansion halted 

Germans 1890's 

Obst 1912 

Metal ear ornaments 


Obst 1912 

Brass neck ring 


Obst 1912,Bagshawe 
1925,Bleek 1931 

Second language is Isanzu 


Obst 1912, Bagshawe 
1925,Bleek 1931 

Killed for "stealing goats" 


Bagshawe 1925 



Bagshawe 1925 

Male Circumcision 


Obst 1912, Bleek 1931 
says none 

Female circumcision 

Isanzu or Datoga 

Woodburn 1964 

Trade for clay pots 


Bleek 1931, Cooper 
1949, Fosbrooke 1956 

Trade for cloth 


Kohl-Larsen 1958 



Kohl-Larsen 1958 

First settlement attempt 

British 1939 

McDowell 1981 

Loss of range to Mangola village 

Mangola European farmers 1 950 

Woodburn 1962 

Loss of Mangola 

Swahili farmers 1 960 

Woodburn 1962 

Yaeda settlement 

Tanzania government (Iraqw) 

Woodburn 1968 

Second language is Swahili 

All neighbors 

Woodburn, pers com 

Aluminum pots 

Swahilis in Mangola 

Tomita 1966 

Sex to remove death pollution 

Iraqwi widows seek out Hadza 

Matthiessen 1972 

Zeze (musical bow) mbira 



Guard fields 


Blurton Jones et al 
1992, Marlowe 

Use of father's last name 

Isanzu, Datoga, Iraqw, Swahili 
officials, missionaries 

Blurton Jones, pers 
com, Marlowe 

Get beer 

Isanzu, Datoga, Swahilis 


Wells dug near waterholes 



Lion kill celebration 



Observed, get money 

International tourists 


Table 3. Hadza Possessions and Artifacts. * likely made earlier but of different material; + exist now but 
often made of different material. 

And Artifacts 

possible date 




Freq. Change 
20 th Century 

Pounding rock 

> 3 mya 



Anvil for pounding 

> 3 mya 



Dig stick 

> 3 mya 





> 300,000 





> 300,000 








Skin shoes + (now tires) 



Skin belt + 




Leather skirt + 




Leather kaross + 




Leather bags 



Leather sheath 




Sleeping hide 



Gourd container, dipper 




Organic jewelry 




Grass basket 








Arrow (6 types) 





2 Poisons 




Shell (mixing poison) 







Fertility walking stick 



Medicine horn 




Wood toys 




Wood gambling chips 




Pegs for climbing 




Stone pipe 




Wooden pipe 




Epeme items: feather or fur 
headgear, maraca, cape 



Twine noose snare 




Glass bead jewelry 

1300 AD 




Epeme items: 

metal leg bands & bells 

1500 AD 




Iron arrow point * 

1500 AD 




Metal knife * 

1500 AD 




Metal axe * 

1500 AD 




Metal Hammer * 

1500 AD 




Metal Chisel * 

1500 AD 



Metal Needles * 

1500 AD 



Musical bow with wire 

1500 AD 




Tobacco * 

1550 AD 




Metal cooking pot * 
Previously Clay pots 

1500 AD 
1300 AD 




Factory cloth 

1800 AD 




Cloth dolls * 

1800 AD 



Plastic beads 

1990 AD 





Figure 1 . Map of Hadza area. 


;Sc-i^;igeti N ational P ark 





* Karatu 


3ame Reserve 

j ) 

^/ f- J Mangda 

- " LakeEyasf* 


i Manyara 
















30 km JN 



Figure 2. Hadza diet showing daily Kilocalories brought into camp by type of food. Data collected over a 9 
month period in 5 different camps in 1995-96 (2,733 person-days). All categories are foraged wild foods 
except "Daily Non-wild Kcals," which is mostly maize (5%) and millet (4.2%) gained as gifts from a 
missionary, or in trade with neighboring agro-pastoralists. This 9.9% of food entering camp equals about 
6.93% of total diet, since about 30% of the diet is consumed while out foraging. 

Daily Non-wild Kcals 

Daily Meat Kcals